President Obama's fiscal year 2014 budget request of $11.9 billion for the Department of the Interior maintains critical funding for the Department's core missions, while making strategic investments to sustain economic recovery and generate jobs, including vital funding for recreation and conservation programs, enhanced science to inform decision-making, domestic energy development and the advancement of American Indians and Alaska Native communities.
"The President's budget sustains support for Interior's core missions, underscoring the pivotal role that this Department plays as a driver of economic activity, especially for rural areas," Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said. "We protect the public lands, water and wildlife that power local economies, drive tourism and define us as a people, while ensuring the responsible development of energy and mineral resources that strengthen our nation's security."
"The President's proposal is a balanced one that makes smart investments and tough budget choices, and mandates greater efficiencies in order to fund the highest priorities," Salazar added.
Interior's programs and activities contributed an estimated $385 billion to the Nation's economy in 2011 and supported an estimated 2.4 million American jobs. Energy and mineral development on Interior-managed lands and offshore areas generated more than $275 billion of this economic activity and supported 1.5 million jobs. Recreation and tourism on Interior lands contributed $48.7 billion and supported nearly 403,000 jobs. Water supply, forage and timber activities, primarily on public lands in the West, contributed nearly $41 billion.
Interior programs continue to generate more revenue for the American people than the Department's annual appropriation. In 2014, Interior will collect an estimated $14.1 billion in royalties, rents, bonuses and fees from various sources, including energy and mineral development and recreational use of public lands. Many of these receipts are shared among state, local and federal governments and also fund natural resource development and conservation programs.
Funding: The 2014 budget proposal includes $10.9 billion in current authority for Interior programs funded by the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriation, a $513.2 million or 5 percent increase compared to the 2012 enacted level. The $1 billion request for Interior's Bureau of Reclamation, including the Central Utah Project Completion Act, is funded in the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act and reflects a decrease of $26.8 million from the 2012 enacted level.
Reductions, Consolidations: The 2014 budget would eliminate or reduce lower priority and underachieving programs, defer project start-ups, shift costs to others who have the ability to pay a fairer share of administrative expenses, restructure operations and capture administrative and efficiency savings. The budget proposal includes more than $600 million in programmatic reductions to offset support for operational requirements. The proposal also sustains three years of targeted administrative cost reductions that will achieve $217 million in savings from travel, contract services and supplies/equipment by the end of 2013.
Legislative Proposals and Offsetting Revenues: The budget incorporates revenue and savings legislation estimated to generate more than $3.7 billion over the next decade. These proposals are aimed at collecting a fair return to the American taxpayer for the development and use of public resources, reduce unnecessary spending and extend beneficial authorities of the law. They include oil and gas leasing and development reforms, a new leasing program for hardrock mining on federal lands, and permanently authorizing the recreational fee program. The budget also would increase oil, gas, permit processing and other administrative fees, so that industry shares some of the cost of federal permitting and regulatory oversight for these activities. The budget also calls for legislation to extend the Payments in Lieu of Taxes program for another year, which would provide $410 million to help counties that have nontaxable federal lands within their boundaries.
America's Great Outdoors
The 2014 budget maintains Interior's commitment to America's Great Outdoors with a $5.3 billion investment, an increase of $179.8 million above the 2012 enacted level. Through President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative, and guided by an ongoing dialogue with states, tribes, local governments, farmers, hunters, anglers and business leaders, Interior is playing a leading role in developing this 21st century conservation agenda. The Department's programs and activities are connecting Americans to the outdoors and expanding access to recreational areas; establishing and revitalizing great urban parks and community green spaces; and conserving and restoring significant landscapes and rivers.
Interior's land management operations would receive $4.7 billion, including $1.1 billion for the Bureau of Land Management; $1.3 billion for the Fish and Wildlife Service; and $2.3 billion for the National Park Service. This funds the operations and maintenance of 401 NPS units, 561 FWS units, and BLM National Landscape Conservation units and other public lands. The areas managed by these bureaus hosted more than 390 million visitors last year.
The 2014 budget includes, for the first time ever, a proposal to authorize permanent mandatory funding for Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) programs, with full funding at $900 million annually beginning in 2015. The request for 2014 includes $400 million in discretionary funds, supplemented by an additional $200 million in mandatory funds. LWCF programs are funded from oil and gas development revenue and used to conserve lands and support outdoor recreation within Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service. The total 2014 LWCF funding request is $255 million above the 2012 enacted level, an additional $184 million for Interior programs.
The 2014 budget continues an innovative approach to conservation that better aligns priorities across Interior's bureaus and the federal estate to enable more impactful investments at a landscape-level. The Administration proposes targeting funding for an Interior-USDA Collaborative Landscape component that aligns both agencies' land acquisition efforts to support community-driven conservation goals in key landscapes: the Crown of the Continent in the intermountain West, the Southwest Desert, the Longleaf Pine in the Southeast, and National Trails. The proposed federal investments in these landscapes build on locally led conservation efforts, and leverage significant private commitments to land and water conservation in these landscapes. Smart investment in strategic conservation in these areas will prevent further ecosystem decline, which is expected to reduce or preclude the need for future investments in restoration.
Interior's Youth in the Great Outdoors initiative, which employs, educates and engages young people in exploring and preserving America's natural and cultural heritage, would receive $54.4 million in the proposed budget, an increase of $12.6 million over the 2012 enacted level. By investing in employment and educational opportunities, Interior can reach out and transform the lives of millions of young Americans, while helping to develop the next generation of community and conservation leaders.
Strengthened Science for Land and Water Management
The proposed 2014 budget provides strong support for basic and applied science to support sustainable stewardship of natural resources as part of Interior's mission. The budget requests $963.1 million for research and development across the Department, which is a $143.6 million or 18 percent increase over FY 2012. These investments promote economic growth and innovation, ensure American competitiveness in the global market, strengthen natural hazard preparedness and improve the nation's knowledge of the natural resources and environmental capital that are the foundation of our Nation's socio-economic and ecological well-being. Program increases will support the application of science to address critical challenges in energy and mineral production, ecosystem management, invasive species, oil spill restoration, climate adaptation, and Earth observations (such as satellite and airborne land imaging and water and wildlife monitoring).
As the Department's premier science agency, the U.S. Geological Survey is funded at $1.2 billion under the President's proposed budget, an increase of $98.8 million above the 2012 enacted level. Funding would support the development of domestic energy, protect critical water resources, respond to natural disasters and advance climate change adaptation strategies.
As competition for water resources grows, so does the need for better information about water quality and quantity. Funding in the 2014 budget includes an increase of $7.2 million to fund more than 400 streamgages that would enhance the ability to monitor high priority sites sensitive to drought, flooding, and potential climate change effects. The budget also includes $14.5 million for WaterSMART, which is a Departmental initiative that leverages existing expertise within USGS and the Bureau of Reclamation to address complex national water challenges and develop a sustainable water strategy.
The 2014 budget requests an increase of $16.6 million for priority ecosystem science. This includes increases for research on controlling and managing invasive species, such as Asian carp in the Great Lakes, and the Burmese python in the Everglades. This also includes strong support for ecosystem restoration in the California Bay Delta, Chesapeake Bay, Columbia River, Everglades, Great Lakes, Klamath River, Puget Sound, and Upper Mississippi River, as well as understanding and accounting for ecosystem services in decision-making.
The budget proposes $2.5 million to improve rapid disaster response, which will enable USGS to provide more timely and effective science to minimize hazard risks to populations and infrastructure from hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, floods and other natural catastrophes. Funding includes improvements in early warning and scenario products for earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and landslides. In addition, an increase of $1.2 million would enable USGS to expand seismic networks in the Central and Eastern United States and improve the products that provide "situational awareness" for responders to gauge earthquake impacts and plan response activities.
The budget request includes $71.7 million for climate science programs. Funding will enable the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center and eight Interior Climate Science Centers to provide enhanced funding for applied science across the Nation and for tribes and enhanced interagency coordination of climate research. Funding for the Climate Research and Development Program would improve understanding of climate impacts on specific regional areas. Funding will also be used to improve methodologies and models needed to complete the national biological carbon sequestration assessment, and support land management applications on Interior's wildlife refuges and national parks, and on tribal lands.
To help ensure a robust and secure energy future for the nation, the proposed budget for the USGS would provide $18.6 million, an increase of $13.0 million, to continue a research and development collaboration with the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency to better understand and address potential adverse environmental, health and safety impacts of oil and gas development utilizing hydraulic fracturing. An increase of $4.0 million would support alternative energy development through the exploration of geothermal resources on federal lands as well as research on the impacts of wind energy to wildlife.
A Stronger Energy Future
The 2014 budget includes $771.6 million for conventional and renewable energy programs, an increase of $97.5 million above 2012. The proposal would continue the President's national energy initiatives that are generating jobs and helping the Nation achieve greater energy self-reliance. The Administration's strategy focuses on safely and responsibly developing our domestic energy through an all-of-the-above strategy that encourages diligent development and seeks the fairest return for American taxpayers. Interior's programs play an important role in contributing to the Nation's energy security. Conventional oil and gas development in these areas account for nearly 23 percent of the nation's energy supply and Interior disbursed $12.2 billion in revenue from energy production on public onshore and offshore areas in 2012.
The budget continues to support offshore conventional oil and gas development activities, with a core focus on institutionalizing worker safety, environmental management and regulatory oversight reforms identified as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The budget includes $169.4 million for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and $222.1 million for the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement to maintain the Department's emphasis on strategic investments to encourage domestic energy production, enhance environmental enforcement functions, expand training and electronic inspection capabilities, and fund operational safety improvements.
In 2012, Interior approved 112 new deepwater well permits in the Gulf of Mexico (the most since 2005) and more rigs are now operating there than in the previous two and a half years. Interior also issued a new five-year program for offshore leasing last year, making 75 percent of the technically recoverable oil and gas resources estimated to be on the OCS available for exploration and development. Two Gulf lease sales have been held under the new five-year program, the latest in March with high bids totaling $1.2 billion. Interior also is preparing a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement to support energy resource surveys in the Mid- and South Atlantic and overseeing the first new exploratory activity in the Alaskan arctic.
The budget proposes discretionary funding of $17.9 million to strengthen the Bureau of Land Management's onshore oil and gas program, an increase of $22.2 million in program capacity. The budget continues support for leasing reform and strengthened inspections and oversight. The BLM's 31 onshore lease sales in calendar year 2012 resulted in 1,707 parcels receiving bids, 30 percent more than in 2009, and generating $233 million for taxpayers. Leasing reforms launched in 2010 have resulted in fewer protests, reducing costs and speeding development. Less than 18 percent of 2,064 parcels offered in FY12 were protested, as compared to almost 50 percent in 2008.
Renewable energy is a growing component of the Administration's all-of-the-above energy strategy and the 2014 budget includes $29.1 million for onshore renewable energy programs administered by the BLM and $34.4 for offshore renewable development managed by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Another $36.4 million in four other Interior agencies will be used for their renewable energy programs. Since 2009, Interior has approved 37 onshore renewable energy projects on or affecting public lands, including 20 utility-scale solar facilities, 8 wind farms and 9 geothermal plants, with associated transmission corridors and infrastructure to connect to established power grids. These projects could provide more than 11,500 megawatts of power, or enough electricity to run about 3.8 million homes, and support an estimated 13,500 construction and operations jobs. Offshore, Interior has created the nation's first regulatory system for permitting renewable energy on the Outer Continental Shelf, issued two non-competitive commercial wind leases off the Atlantic coast and is preparing the first-ever competitive lease sales for wind energy areas off Virginia and Rhode Island. These auctions are expected to offer 278,000 acres for development, with associated projects potentially producing enough energy to power up to 1.4 million homes.
Strengthening Tribal Nations
To honor Interior's trust responsibilities, promote self-determination and strengthen Tribal Nations, the 2014 budget for Indian Affairs (Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education) is $2.6 billion, an increase of $31.3 million above the 2012 enacted level. The Strengthening Tribal Nations Initiative is a comprehensive, multi-year effort to advance the President's commitments to 566 federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes to improve conditions throughout Indian Country and foster economic opportunities on federal Indian reservations.
The FY 2014 budget request includes a $121.0 million increase for this initiative to support sustainable stewardship and development of natural resources in Indian Country as well as public safety programs that apply lessons learned from successful law enforcement pilot programs and staffing increases at detention facilities. It additionally provides funding for post secondary education and an elementary and secondary education pilot program based on the U.S. Department of Education's turnaround schools model and concepts.
The request for Contract Support, which allows federally recognized tribes to operate federally funded programs themselves under contract with the United States, is $231 million -- a $9.8 million increase over the FY 2012 enacted level. Tribes rely on contract support funds to pay the costs of managing contracted programs. Because of a recent Supreme Court decision regarding Contract Support, the 2014 budget is proposing that Congress appropriate Contract Support cost funding to tribes on a contract-by-contract basis, as an interim approach until a long term solution is developed in consultation with the tribes.
The budget proposal for BIA Law Enforcement Operations is $199.7 million, reflecting a $5.5 million program increase over the 2012 enacted level, which will enable the BIA to hire additional law enforcement personnel; $96.9 million for Detention Center Operations, an increase of $13.4 million, for staffing, training and equipment to strengthen capacity to hold and process detainees and fund operations at seven new detention facilities; and $24.4 million for Tribal Courts, an increase of $1.0 million, to support the enhanced capabilities provided tribal courts under the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2009.
The budget also supports the BIA's successful pilot program, launched in 2010, that carries out the President's Priority Performance Goal of reducing violent crime by at least five percent within 24 months on four reservations. The targeted, community-safety program successfully reduced violent crime by an average of 35 percent across the reservations. In 2012, the program was extended to two additional reservations and the BIA will continue to support the efforts of all six programs in 2014. The request also includes a $3.0 million programmatic increase in BIA Human Services to address domestic violence in tribal communities under a new initiative.
The budget request for the Trust -- Natural Resources Management program, which assists tribes in managing, developing and protecting their trust lands and natural resources, is $189.2 million, a $34.4 million increase over the FY 2012 enacted level. The request for Trust -- Real Estate Services is $128.9 million, a $7.7 million increase over the FY 2012 enacted level. This program carries out the BIA's trust services, probate, and land titles and records functions, and incorporates the Department's trust reform improvement efforts.
Taking land into trust is one of the most important functions the Department undertakes on behalf of tribal communities, whose homelands are essential to their peoples' health, safety and economic well-being. The BIA's trust programs assist tribes and individual Indian landowners in the management, development and protection of trust lands and natural resource assets totaling about 55 million surface acres and 57 million acres of subsurface mineral estates. In 2012 and 2013, the Department undertook the most substantial overhaul of the federal fee-to-trust process in more than half a century. In 2012, Interior placed 37,971 acres of land into trust on behalf of tribes and individual Indians and approved 299 fee-to-trust applications. Since 2009, Indian Affairs has processed more than 1,000 applications and acquired 196,600 acres of land in trust.
The Bureau of Indian Education would be funded at $802.8 million under the 2014 budget, a program increase of $6.7 million above the 2012 enacted level. The Advancing Indian Education initiative, which is vital to strengthening tribal communities, addresses the full spectrum of educational operations and needs throughout Indian Country from elementary through post secondary levels and adult education. About 183 education facilities and dormitories on 64 reservations serve nearly 41,000 K-12 students.
The 2014 Indian education budget proposes a new $15.0 million Turnaround Schools Pilot Project, which targets the lowest performing schools that demonstrate the greatest need, strongest commitment, and most effective capacity for using these funds to substantially raise the achievement levels of their students. Tribal Colleges and Universities would receive $69.8 million, a $2.5 million increase to support efforts to assist in the economic development of tribal communities, as they offer resources and facilities to teach community members workplace skills and support tribal plans for development.
Tackling America's Water Challenges
The core mission of the Bureau of Reclamation, which manages 476 dams and 337 reservoirs that deliver water to 31 million people, is to address the water needs of a growing population with competing water uses in an environmentally responsible and cost-efficient manner. Reclamation assist states, tribes and local entities by promoting efficient water deliveries and power generation, implementing critical river restoration programs and strengthening tribal nations by implementing water rights settlements.
The 2014 budget for the Bureau of Reclamation is $1.0 billion, a reduction of $26.8 million from the 2012 enacted level. Water and Related Resources programs are funded at $791.1 million, including $373.3 million for resource management and development activities. The request also emphasizes reliable water delivery and power generation by requesting $417.8 million to fund operation, maintenance and rehabilitation activities at Reclamation facilities.
Water Rights Settlements for American Indian communities are funded at $159.6 million in the 2014 budget proposal, an increase of $26 million over 2012. Reclamation is proposing to establish an Indian Water Rights Settlements account of $78.7 million to assure continuity in the construction of five of the authorized projects and to highlight and enhance transparency in the use of these funds. The funding includes $18.2 million to continue implementation of the four settlements authorized in the Claims Resolution Act of 2010 to deliver clean water to the Taos Pueblo of New Mexico, the Pueblos of New Mexico named in the Aamodt case, the Crow Tribe of Montana and the White Mountain Apache Tribe of Arizona. The budget also includes $60.5 million for the ongoing Navajo-Gallup Water Supply project. Additionally, $60.0 million in new permanent authority is available in 2014 for the Indian water rights settlements. Additional increases totaling $5.5 million are provided in the budgets of BIA, Reclamation and USGS for technical support and to conduct a Department-wide evaluation to strengthen the Department's capacity to more effectively partner with tribes on water issues.
The Reclamation budget also requests $21.0 million in the Water and Related Resources Account for on-going settlement operation and maintenance functions, including the Ak Chin Indian Water Rights Settlement Act, San Carlos Apache Tribe Water Settlement Act, Colorado Ute Settlement Act Animas-La Plata Project, and Nez Perce/Snake River Water Rights Act, which is part of the Columbia and Snake River Recovery Project.
The budget request proposes to consolidate the Central Utah Project Completion Act within the Bureau of Reclamation as part of broader administration efforts to implement good government solutions, consolidate activities when possible and reduce duplication and overlap. The FY 2014 CUPCA budget is $3.5 million, a decrease of $25.4 million from the 2013 Full Year Continuing Resolution.
The 2014 budget request for the Department-wide Wildland Fire Management program is $776.9 million. The net program increase of $194.2 million includes program increase of $205.1 million split between Suppression Operations and the FLAME Fund to fully fund the 10-year average, and $3.0 million for the Burned Area Rehabilitation program. These program increases are partially offset by a reduction of $88.9 million in the Hazardous Fuels Reduction program. This net reduction includes an increase of $2.0 million to conduct a research study on the effectiveness of hazardous fuels treatments. The 2014 request for the Wildland Fire Management account also includes a cancellation of $7.0 million in prior-year balances.
The Budget is online: www.doi.gov/budget.